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The Best Boat Trailer Guides

Loading and unloading a boat in a trailer seems like a trivial task until you try it first-hand. The best boat trailer guides make things a lot easier. It leads the watercraft on and off the trailer to prevent accidents and minimize wear. No need to waste time and effort! It is a simple tool with huge benefits, making the life of any boater less stressful.

best boat trailer guides

With endless possibilities for boat trailer loading guides, deciding what to buy isn’t straightforward. Decide beyond the cost. Consider the type of the guide, overall construction, and ease of use. Find one suitable for the size and type of boat that you have.

Need help choosing boat trailer guides? This short guide lists down some of the top options available.

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Best Boat Trailer Guide Reviews

1. SeaSense Trailer Post Guide

If you are looking for value for money, this is one of the best boat guides for trailers to include in your list. It has everything you need for a good set of trailer guides, including PVC caps, tubes, brackets, hex bolts, hex nuts, U-bolts, lock nuts, and flat washers.

The versatility of this trailer guide is equally notable. It is available in three sizes – 40, 48, and 60 inches. Whether you have a small or large trailer, you can find the right size for your needs.

With the trailer guide’s sturdy construction, I am confident that it will withstand many years of use. The guide post is made of PVC pipe, but it is strong enough to support the weight of my boat. They are galvanized to protect against external elements that speed up wear, such as rust and corrosion.

Even if it is your first time using a trailer guide, the installation is a breeze. It took me about an hour to finish the assembly of the guide. When you install the red cap on the pipe, I suggest that you drill a hole on the top part. This allows the air to escape so that the cap won’t shoot up.

However, one of the downsides of this trailer guide is the included U-bolt. The fit on the bracket can be better. It has a loose locking mechanism and poorly galvanized, which can compromise durability.
Pros
  • Comes with the necessary mounting hardware
  • Available in various sizes for different needs
  • Sturdy construction guarantees long-term functionality
  • Easy to install even for beginners
Cons
  • Poor quality of included U-bolts
This boat trailer guide comes complete with the necessary hardware, is effortless to install, and comes in three sizes to suit different boats.

2. CE Smith Trailer Post Guide

If you need a visual guide for the effortless loading and launching of your boat from the trailer, this is an exceptional product. It makes backing the boat from the ramp a breeze, preventing damage and injury.

The guide is made of pre-galvanized 16-gauge steel. With its incredible strength, it will withstand the test of time. There is a white pipe that fits the top of the steel pole, which is easy to see even when it is in the water. The solid steel stays strong, even when there are crosscurrents or crosswinds.

One more thing that I love is the simple installation. After sliding the pipe on the support post, mount it to the desired position on the trailer. Adjust the post accordingly, making sure that the distance to the boat is not more than one-inch. No drilling is necessary.

This guide is adjustable up to 13 inches out of the trailer. With the post caps installed, it stands 40-inch tall on the top of the trailer. It fits trailer frames with a width of up to three inches and a height of up to 5.25 inches.

When you purchase this product, it is already sold in pairs. It includes all the mounting hardware you will need, so it is ready for installation immediately after unboxing.

Take note that while it is pre-galvanized, the zinc coating is thin. It might not be enough to protect the post from rust and corrosion.
Pros
  • Sturdy 16-gauge steel construction
  • Worry-free installation even for novices
  • Adjustable to suit different boat sizes
  • Strong enough even in crosswinds and crosscurrents
Cons
  • The thin zinc coating can speed up rust and corrosion
From its sturdy construction to easy installation, there are many reasons why this is one of my favorite boat trailer side rails.

3. Extreme Max Roller Guide

Keeping the trailer position true to preventing too deep loading is another notable option for top-notch boat trailer side guide rollers. The main post is made of solid zinc-coated steel, which resists corrosion and other external elements. There are rubber rollers to prevent scuffs on the boat and protect against damage.

The versatility of this boat trailer guide-ons is worth highlighting. It works on both roller and bunk-style trailers. It has several holes, which accommodate various frames. It accommodates a maximum width of three inches and a height of 4.25 inches.

Like many top options for boat trailer side guides, the installation is a snap. I can mount it directly on the frame, eliminating the need for cutting and drilling. This allows me to change the position when necessary.

Another impressive feature is the zinc coating, which is responsible for corrosion resistance. It has a heavy-duty construction ideal even for marine use. Despite this, it is best only for freshwater use. Brackish and saltwater will speed up the damage.

While the manufacturer advertises this model as a heavy-duty product, it is small and lightweight. It might work on aluminum jon boats, but I suggest choosing another model for anything larger and heavier. Additionally, before purchasing this roller guide, take note that it is only for freshwater use.
Pros
  • Suitable for both roller and bunk-style trailer
  • Comes with multiple holes to fit different frames
  • Has a rubber wrap to protect against damage
  • Direct frame mounting offers easy installation
Cons
  • Works only on small boats
  • Not for saltwater
In sum, this boat trailer guide is versatile to accommodate different trailers or frames and allows easy installation as I can mount it directly on the frame.

4. Fulton GB150 Trailer Boat Guide

If you are looking for the best boat trailer load guides, this is one option worth considering. I love how effortless the installation is. It took me less than an hour to assemble the posts. I suggest that you adjust them at least twice for proper tension, which will keep the boat tight.

The PVC does not have metal reinforcement, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is made of a flexible but durable material. Aside from their marine-grade construction, the PVC is also non-marring, which will prevent surface damages on your boat.

It comes with an adjustable design, perfect for different hulls. It is suitable for all environments. It can customize the position of the vertical bolts and work on trailer frames with a height of up to five inches and a width of up to three inches. Each side is adjustable at a width of up to ten inches to fit different boat sizes.

Like many of my recommendations for boat trailer guide posts, it is user-friendly. It bolts directly on the mount, so I do not need to cut and drill. Plus, I do not need any special tool to complete the assembly since the package includes all necessary mounting hardware. Hence, I also recommend this guide as a great starter set of trailer guides.

One problem with this trailer guide is that it is missing some mounting hardware. The post has holes that are not taped where screws can fall.
Pros
  • Made of sturdy but flexible PVC
  • Has a non-marring design to prevent scratches
  • The adjustable design accommodates different hulls
  • Bolt-on mounting eliminates the need to drill
  • Comes as a complete set of trailer guides
Cons
  • Incomplete mounting hardware
This PVC boat trailer guide is made of a flexible and adjustable material that accommodates different trailers and hulls.

5. CE Smith Short Bunk Guide

This carpeted bunk board will cradle your boat while also acting as a trailer guide for effortless loading and launching. It has an untreated Southern yellow pine wooden board covered with premium marine carpeting to hug the hull.

More than being made of high-quality materials, I admire this trailer guide because of its adjustability. The 21-inch frame is adjustable from 13 inches. I can mount it even on the top of the frame if I need additional height.

As a rookie, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to installation. The bolts have long threaded ends, making them easy to secure. It takes roughly half an hour before the trailer guide set-up is ready. It is also inclusive of everything that I need to mount the guides.

Using this trailer guide allows me to center my boat on the trailer effortlessly. I do not need to fight the wind as I load my boat into the ramp. The best thing is that once it is loaded, it remains centered, which is important for even weight distribution.

One problem with this trailer guide is that the post bends easily. To prevent this, I suggest that you limit its use to small boats or personal watercraft.
Pros
  • Has an adjustable frame for different boat sizes
  • Easy to the thread because of the long bolts
  • Installation takes only approximately half an hour
  • Centers the boat easily even when it is windy
Cons
  • Post can easily bend
Even as a beginner, this boat trailer guide is commendable. It is easy to install and adjustable, making it perfect for different boat sizes.

6. Extreme Max Trailer Bunk Guide

These bunk guide-ons make boat centering a piece of cake, even for someone who has no experience. Currents and wind will not impact my loading attempts with these guides. They will keep the vessel in its right position until it is off the ramp.

One thing I love the most is the carpeted construction. The boat trailer guide pads create a buffer between the main material of the guide and my boat. It adds a soft touch to minimize damage. The inner material, on the other hand, is sturdy steel.

Trailer frame sizes vary. Good thing, these guides are adjustable. I can easily adjust the height at a maximum of 16 inches depending on my boat. It is great for trailer frames with a height of 4.25 inches and a width of three inches.

With a length of four feet, the guides are long enough to secure most boats. They work even for larger trailers and will protect the boat from severe currents and winds.

The best jon boat trailer guides are quick to set-up, and such is another reason why this product stands out. It has bolt-on installation, instead of cutting and drilling. Within minutes, the guides are ready and I can start loading my boat.

While it is designed for marine use, take note that it is only for freshwater applications. Using it in saltwater will deteriorate the finish and speed up wear.
Pros
  • Carpeted construction minimizes boat damage
  • Adjustable width and height for easily customizing fit
  • User-friendly bolt-on installation
  • Long bunks to secure the boat from currents and winds
Cons
  • For freshwater use onl
The carpeted construction, adjustable height, and bolt-on installation are some of the reasons why these trailer guides are impressive.

7. CE Smith Guide-on Roller

Made by one of the most trusted manufacturers of boat guides for boat trailers, this product makes boat retrieval a breeze, even on shallow ramps. Even when I am alone or when there is a crosswind, it is easy to use. These CE Smith boat trailer guides will align a boat perfectly without requiring too much.

Right out of the box, the rollers are already fully-assembled and ready to be installed. The mounting hardware is already included, which can accommodate frames with a width of three inches and a height of up to 4.25 inches.

Customizing the fit of the guides is easy. It is adjustable up to 13 inches on each side. The overall height, on the other hand, is 21 inches. The set also includes nine-inch rollers with two-inch roller caps at the top and bottom.

More so, the set also includes 1.5-inch steel uprights. They lean up to 15 degrees to hug the boat and keep it in a stable position. The uprights are pre-galvanized. While the galvanized coating is thin, it is still a good thing that it can protect from outdoor elements.

A major drawback is that the guides can leave unsightly black marks on white boats. The best way to prevent the latter is to wrap rubber or similar material on contact point. Once you see skid marks, clean them as soon as possible.
Pros
  • Helps in aligning the boat perfectly
  • Ready for installation out of the box
  • Allows side adjustments of up to 13 inches
  • Steel sheet has galvanized coating for protection
Cons
  • Leaves a black mark on white boats
Even as a rookie, installing these guides is easy. The height-adjustable side makes it versatile to accommodate different boats.

8. KUAFU Boat Trailer Guide

The best thing about this trailer guide is its price. While it is a budget-friendly alternative, quality is not compromised. It has a premium and sturdy material wrapped in a carpet to support most boats.

Despite being economical, the construction is impressive. I love how it has exceptional clamping force, which will minimize flexing and twisting. It creates a secure platform. It is also worth noting that it has been tested thoroughly to prove that it can withstand even harsh environments. The surface is zinc-plated to avoid corrosion even with exposure to saltwater.

The manufacturer notes that this guide is laser-cut, CNC-folded, and robot-assembled. These indicated how serious the company is in making a high-quality product that meets the demand of discerning users while still being affordable. It has been through stringent quality control to guarantee an exceptional product.

I didn’t have any second thoughts about buying this product. I was convinced because of the 100% money-back guarantee. Within 30 days, if I am unhappy with its quality and performance, I can return it and receive an unconditional refund.

The biggest problem with this trailer guide is that it is made by an unknown company. If you are brand-conscious, this is one thing you might not appreciate.
Pros
  • A great option for buyers on a budget
  • Comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Great clamping force to prevent twisting and flexing
  • Has been through a series of tests to ensure quality
Cons
  • Made by a company unheard of by many people
This budget-friendly trailer guide is made of sturdy materials, offers a good clamping force, and comes with an unconditional money-back guarantee.

9. VEVE Inc. Boat Trailer Post Guide

Many of the boat guide rails are made of 16-gauge steel. This model, however, has a 14-gauge steel post, which means that it is a bit thicker. It is approximately. 83-inch thick.

More than being thick, it also comes with a welded brace to form stronger joints. It reinforces the post for additional strength, making sure that it isn’t easy to deform. Even when it is hit by a boat, it won’t quickly bend. Plus, it has a five-inch formed-clamp, which is better than those attached using u-bolts.

It is hot-dipped for galvanization, which is up to three times stronger than its pre-galvanized counterparts. This makes it suitable for freshwater and saltwater use. No need to worry about rust and corrosion even when using the guides in harsh environments.

A common problem in many side guides for boat trailers is that the caps end up shooting or floating. This model addresses that problem by having vented caps.

While the overall quality is remarkable, a minor issue is with the bolts and brackets. They are not galvanized, unlike the rest of the post. This makes them easily prone to wear. It looks like they have electroplated steel instead of a thicker, galvanized coating. Additionally, the pipe that wraps the post rattles, which is quite annoying.
Pros
  • Ideal for both saltwater and freshwater use
  • 14-gauge construction makes it thick and sturdy
  • Has brace welding to enhance strength
  • The caps are vented to prevent floating
Cons
  • Bolts and brackets are not galvanized
  • PVC pipe can rattle loudly
Unlike other low-quality trailer guides, this model is hot-dipped and brace-welded for protection from outdoor elements and guarantees its incredible strength.

10. Tie Down 86103 Post Guide

If you are looking for affordable boat trailer bow guides, this is one product to include on your radar. It makes an excellent visual marker because of the bright-orange caps. Launching and loading a boat is sure to be a lot easier with help from the markers.

Aside from having bright markers, I also commend the non-marring design of the pipe. If you hate scuff marks or scratches, you will love this guide. The 48-inch post is gentle on boats. Inside this PVC, there is a sturdy 15-inch metal tube.

With galvanized brackets, it is protected from rust and corrosion. No need to worry even if it is used outdoors and exposed to different elements. The nuts and bolts, meanwhile, are zinc-plated. This is not as solid as the coating of the brackets, but sufficient in most environments, except salt water.

More so, this post has a 13-degree angle. The slight slant means that you will have a wider target when loading your watercraft.

However, one of the problems with this product is the tip. It is not 90 degrees, which can protrude to incoming traffic and can be a danger. Meanwhile, some people might not appreciate how there is a need to drill a bottom hole for securing the pole, which makes the installation a bit more complicated.
Pros
  • Made of non-marring PVC for surface protection
  • Has a sturdy metal tube reinforcement inside the pipe
  • Galvanized brackets for rust protection
  • Slightly slant for more room for wider beams
Cons
  • The tip is not angled at 90 degrees
  • Need to drill holes to secure the poles
This slightly slanted trailer guide accommodates boats with a wide beam. It has a non-marring pipe with a metal tube for reinforcement.

11. HECASA Boat Trailer Guide

The best thing about aluminum boat trailer guides is that they do not rust! This lightweight material withstands outdoor elements. Unlike steel, it does not need to be galvanized. Aluminum has natural protection against rust. Corrosion, however, can still be a problem, so consider anodizing or painting.

Most parts of the post are smooth, except for the welded tabs. The latter will support the pipe you will insert in the post. It acts as a stopper, which will prevent the pipe from sliding further the aluminum guide.

One of its selling points is its simplicity. Compared to the other boat trailer guide rails, it does not include a pipe and has a more straightforward design. This is also the reason why it is affordable.

If you are buying and using trailer guides for the first time, you have another compelling reason to choose this product. Installation is straightforward. It takes only a few minutes before it is ready to launch or retrieve a boat without complicated assembly.

While aluminum is a great material overall, it isn’t as sturdy as steel. Unsurprisingly, the post can bend when subjected to too much pressure. I recommend using this only for jon boats or small personal watercraft, such as a jet ski. To add, the package is also not inclusive of mounting hardware unlike most of the products in this buying guide.
Pros
  • Does not rust
  • Has tabs on the side that prevent sliding
  • A great choice if you are on a budget
  • The effortless installation makes it perfect for rookies
Cons
  • Can be prone to bending
  • Hardware is not included
In sum, this trailer guide has aluminum construction to prevent rust and comes with welded tabs to prevent the pipe from sliding too far.

12. VEVE Inc. Trailer Roller Guide

If you need boat trailer roller guides that will last a long time, this is a notable option. With its gold zinc plating, it isn’t easily prone to wear. This boat trailer guide is even made better by the hot-dipped galvanized process, which protects against corrosion. This means that I can use it in both freshwater and saltwater without worrying about deterioration.

This model has a 28-inch steel tube with a 13-inch roller. It is adjustable at up to 29.5 inches. I can adjust it in and out to fit different boat sizes. By changing the width, it ensures a more secure fit.

Aside from the adjustable height and width, these pontoon boat trailer guides have four slots in the corner plates. The latter allows mounting on cross-members with a width of two to three inches.

It is worth emphasizing that this roller guide is made in the United States. This is unlike many of its cheaper counterparts, which are made in China. Being American-made, I am more confident that the quality is second to none.

One minor design flaw of this product is that the bolts or nuts stick out. The misalignment can damage or scratch the boat’s surface. Another drawback is that it is only for calm conditions. With persistent wind and waves, the guides bend easily.
Pros
  • Has gold zinc plating for corrosion protection
  • Can be used in both freshwater and saltwater
  • Four-slot plate corners for flexible mounting
  • American-made guarantees exceptional quality
Cons
  • Bolts are sticking out
  • Not for strong winds and waves
This is another impressive product for quick and effortless boat centering, especially because of its galvanized construction and adjustable position to accommodate various boat sizes.

What are Boat Trailer Guides and How Do They Work

boat-trailer-loading-guides

As the name implies, it is a simple tool that supports the bow and guides the boat in the trailer, making sure that it is centered. It leads the vessel for easier launching and loading. Whether it is going on or off the ramp, a trailer guide is a lifesaver! It keeps the boat stable even when there is current or wind.

The trailer guides are usually attached at the rear part, one on each side. When loading, the trailer is first backed into the water. The boat is then tied to a rope and it is pulled into the trailer while using a winch. The guides make sure that the boat is cranked while staying in the center.

Types of Boat Trailer Guides

One of the best ways to differentiate your options is to know the different types available, including those mentioned below.

Post

It has customizable metal brackets that connect to the trailer and a PVC that stands on the bracket. The latter sticks up when you are backing the trailer, which will be easily visible in the water. They are tall enough to provide visual cues, making sure that the boat is centered from the water. However, it is best to use them only on smaller and lighter boats.

Roller

These guides also attach to the trailer frame, but the main difference is that there is an extra part – a nine to 12-inch roller. The rollers have non-marring rubber covers, which will prevent scratches. It is sturdy, making it a great option if you need boat trailer guides for large boats. The main drawback, however, is that it isn’t as visible as post-type guides.

Bunk

For larger boats, you cannot go wrong with bunk-type guides. It has adjustable brackets that connect to the trailer frame. They have wooden planks with carpet wrapping. Several adjustments are available, allowing it to hug the boat tightly depending on the hull’s size. If you want it to be more supportive, choose longer guides.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Boat Trailer Guides

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The biggest benefit of using trailer guides is convenience. You do not need to center a boat on the ramp manually. Water vessels are heavy, so adjusting their position in the trailer is a burden. By installing the guides, they remain fixed in the middle and will not move, even when the trailer is running.

Aside from convenience, boat trailer guides are also important for safety. Like the boat trailer v-guide bow support, they will keep the weight balanced even when you turn or stop. This keeps other motorists safe. It is safe not just for humans but even for the boat itself. Trailer guides can help prevent scratches, making it easy to maintain the boat’s peak condition.

It is hard to think of any drawback. If there’s one, it would be the cost. They can be quite expensive, especially those made by reputable manufacturers. Nonetheless, I believe that they are worth every dollar with their given benefits and functions.

Buyer’s Guide

If you are still undecided about the best boat trailer guide to choose from, below are the most important things to consider.

Combability

One of the most important is to pick a guide compatible with your trailer and boat. If you have a large and heavy boat, you will need a tall and sturdy guide. For smaller boats, such as personal watercraft like jet ski, you can use smaller guides.

Material

The materials used in a trailer guide are indicative of durability and price. Many posts are made of PVC. They are lightweight and affordable, but strength can be an issue, especially if you have bigger boats. Steel and aluminum are also common options, which are better if you need a stronger material. Rubber is also used, especially in rollers.

Coating

If you choose metal trailer guides, it is important to have a coated finish as protection from rust and corrosion. Many will have zinc coating. Higher-end models, on the other hand, are galvanized. The latter is a thicker finish that provides better protection against external elements that speed up wear.

Light

Boat trailer guides with lights are perfect if you want better visibility. They are helpful when backing up, especially without any help. The light will serve as a marker, making the guides easy to spot even in poorly-lit environments or murky waters. It is often attached at the end of the PVC.

Adjustability

A good boat trailer guide offers several adjustments so that you can change the fit depending on your boat. The height and width must be adjustable to conform to the fit. The more snug the fit is, the easier it is to make sure that the boat stays in the center.

Ease of Use

Choose user-friendly boat trailer guides. Read reviews from other buyers and pay attention to what they are saying about the product’s assembly. The installation hardware must already be included and it should come with a comprehensive manual.

Care and Maintenance

With exposure to the sun, water, and snow, boat trailer guides are prone to wear. They can rust and corrode, making them weaker over time. Prevent these problems by doing the things mentioned below:

  • Secure all parts. Give them a tight wiggle before loading and unloading your boat. Tighten all bolts and nuts.
  • Check the bunks of the carpeting. If there are frays or other visible damages, consider replacing the carpet.
  • Clean the guides once they get dirty. All you need is water, mild dish soap, and a brush to get rid of the dirt and debris that accumulated on the surface.
  • Consider oxidizing or painting the guides if they do not have natural protection against rust and corrosion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes the best boat trailer guides?

SeaSense, CE Smith, Fulton, Tie Down, and Extreme Max, are some of the best makers of boat trailer guides. I am confident that their products will offer a combination of form and function, providing the best value for the money. Whether you are on a budget or do not mind going on a splurge, these brands have something for everyone.

How tall should boat trailer guides be?

This is a matter of personal preference, but the most important is for the guides to be tall enough to be visible even when the trailer is in the water. Bunk-style guides are generally 18 to 24 inches. On the other hand, a post-style trailer guide will be 40 to 60 inches. Both of them will usually have adjustable heights to fit different boats and trailers.

How do you build a boat trailer guide?

Consider homemade boat trailer guides if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the products mentioned above. Making them requires a bit of time and effort, but they are worth it.

  • Gather all the materials that you will need. For a basic guide, use a PVC pipe, the length of which will depend on your trailer and boat. You will also need a U-bolt, drill, washers, washer lock, tape measure, and end caps.
  • From the end of the pipe, measure about five inches from the base and drill your first hole. Drill the second hole depending on the length of the U-bolt.
  • Position the guide on the trailer and drill holes on the frame to secure the U-bolt. Tighten the washers and locks. Put the end caps on the top side of the pipe.
  • Add a block of wood between the pipe and the trailer to avoid any wiggle.
  • If you are going to use it in rough conditions, it is best to have an aluminum pipe inside the boat to make it stronger.

How to set-up and use?

Installing a boat trailer guide might initially seem intimidating, but it is an easy job once you know the basics. The installation will be different depending on the type of the trailer guide that you have. Read on and learn how to do it right.

  • Start by choosing the best location to install the guides. It should not interfere with the frame and must fully support and guide the boat on the platform. You can mount it above or below the frame, but it must be as far back as possible.
  • Take all the necessary measurements and start drilling holes. In some cases, you don’t need to drill holes for attachments.
  • Position the U-bolt and tighten all the connections.
  • Add the caps at the end of the pipe. It is good to drill a hole at the end cap to prevent it from shooting up once there is pressure from air or water.

Where can I buy?

The best place to buy boat trailer guides is online. Check out large e-commerce sites like Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart. You can also check the respective websites of the manufacturers. Buying online is convenient. Not to mention, you can easily compare prices and read reviews from other people.

Conclusion

Getting your boat on and off the trailer does not require a lot of time and effort. The best boat trailer guides save the day! More than convenience, they prevent injuries and damages to your boat. They are available in all styles and sizes, so choose wisely! Consider my recommendations above and it is hard to go wrong!

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